Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Jerry Oltion

I confess that I haven't read any of the fiction by Jerry Oltion, but I am aware of his name. He is a Nebula Award-winning short story writer and novelist, and holds a remarkable record: he has had more fiction published in Analog (the legendary hard SF magazine that began life as Astounding way back in the pulp days) than any other author. Only Poul Anderson comes close.

Why am I writing about an author I've never read?

Because I just saw an interesting account of a talk he gave as part of a "Big Read" programme in Oregon, which (as so often) sees Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 being adopted for community-wide reading. Oltion talks about definitions of science fiction, and his approach to writing. He also mentions that writing is the hardest work he has ever done... and he compares it to his earlier work as a stonemason and garbage man. Like many writers, he has a bleak view of the future of the publishing industry, and firmly believes that the future is in the e-book or online publishing.

Of all of Oltion's comments, the one I found most interesting was his discussion of how he views plotting a story. He says:
Plot, for me, is the simplest thing to write. You stick up a bunch of dominoes and you push the first one and the rest of them go. Those make the most beautiful stories. And Fahrenheit 451 is definitely one of those. 
The full account of Oltion's presentation is here, and you can visit his website here.

No comments: